|‘Half Of The Last 16 Chief Justices Were Corrupt’
The decision to declare assets is a big victory. Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan tells SHOMA CHAUDHURY what else is rotting in our judiciary
It’s great judges have agreed to declare assets. But will it really help? Politicians do it too.
The debate around judicial accountability has got really hot. Are there watershed events that triggered this?
You’ve been at the forefront of the judicial accountability campaign. Why?
What is the root cause of judicial corruption then, and what are your key demands?
Similarly, Justice Vijender Jain decided the case of a person whose granddaughter had been married out of his own house. He was a close friend but he still heard and decided the case in this person’s favour. The point is, in these cases though very specific complaints were made to the then Chief Justice of India (CJI), he didn’t do anything to activate the in-house procedure. All these judges have gone on to become chief justices. Bhalla is still chief justice of Rajasthan; Virendra Jain became chief justice of Punjab and Haryana.
What’s the answer?
The third problem is the Contempt of Court Act. Today, even if you expose a judge with evidence, you run the risk of contempt. Judges are even seeking to insulate themselves from the RTI. We have to get rid of the Contempt of Court Act – not the whole Act. Disobeying the orders of the court is civil contempt – that should remain. Interfering with the administration of justice is criminal contempt – that too should remain. What needs to be deleted is the clause about scandalising or lowering the dignity of the court, for which Arundhati Roy was sent to jail. Finally, there is the problem of appointments. Earlier, judicial appointments were made by the government, which was bad enough. Now, by a sleight of hand, the Supreme Court has taken the power of appointments to itself. Earlier there were political considerations; now there are nepotistic ones.
Again, what’s the answer to that?
What are the best practices and conventions elsewhere?
Do any counter arguments hold?
Are there other ways in which judicial corruption manifests itself?
|From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 35, Dated September 05, 2009|
New Delhi, Friday 28 August 2009: The Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan today said the decision of Supreme Court judges to make their assets public was “unanimous”.
“We are strictly following the 1997 resolution under which the disclosures were not to be made public. Now, because of changed circumstances, we will put the details on the website,” CJI said while interacting with reporters here.
Balakrishnan said that apex court judges have been following the 1997 resolution and they have been submitting statements of their assets to the CJI.
High Court pulls up Centre, state over Ganga pollution
Express News Service
Posted: Aug 29, 2009 at 0402 hrs IST
Allahabad Expressing serious concern over the pollution in Ganga, the Allahabad High Court on Friday issued directives to the Central and UP government to submit affidavits regarding the steps they have taken for improving the quality and quantity of water in Ganga.
Hearing the PIL filed by Swami Harichaitanya Brahmachari, the court also summoned the principal secretary (urban development), chairman of UP Pollution Control Board and Allahabad municipal commissioner to explain the steps taken in pursuance of earlier orders of the court in general and the July 10 order in particular.
The Division Bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Arun Tandon said, “Despite several orders passed by the court since 2006, no effective step has been taken by the state and the Union governments for setting up the sewage treatment plants.”
During the hearing of the same PIL on July 10, the court had asked the UP government to come up with a scheme, after consultations with the Nagar Nigams concerned, to begin temporary measures for preventing the flow of drains into the river till the permanent arrangements were in place for treating the sewage.
On Friday, the court asked the Centre to explain the steps taken by it after announcing the Ganga a national river. The court also asked the additional standing counsel to submit the details of the state government’s proposal for setting up a leather park in Kanpur along the Ganga.
The Bench, on request of the government’s counsels, allowed one month time to the state and the Centre to submit affidavits explaining the steps taken in compliance with earlier orders.
The next hearing is on September 29.
High Court dismisses petition challenging recruitment of Lok Rakshaks
Express News Service
Posted: Aug 29, 2009 at 0436 hrs IST
Ahmedabad In a significant order, the Gujarat High Court has dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the government resolution, which enables the state government to recruit Lok Rakshaks in the police force at a monthly salary of Rs 2,500.
The division bench of Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi refused to entertain the litigation. It observed: “It is by now well settled that in service law, PIL cannot be entertained, and therefore challenge to the rules cannot be entertained as well.”
Retired IPS officer P B Malia and three others had filed the petition submitting that the recruitment of Lok Rakshaks and their subsequent absorption in the police was against the police discipline and recruitment rules.
In its counter affidavit, the state government had elaborately described the reasons for recruiting Lok Rakshaks.
It contended that the implementation of the Fourth Pay Commission recommendations had led to a rise of non-planning expenditure and had forced the government to take stringent economic measures.
Under such circumstances, the posts of Lok Rakshaks were created with a salary structure of Rs 2,500 per month. By passing the resolution of recruiting the Lok Rakshaks in 2004, the state government had abolished 3,000 posts of police constables and created 3,000 posts of Lok Rakshaks on a contract basis, it said.
Arguing for the government, the Advocate General had also relied upon a Gujarat High Court judgment where similar question was raised over the
appointments of Shikshak Sahayaks in the Education Department.
The government contended that the recruitment, training and ancillary provisions of the Recruitment Rules for Police Constables would apply to the recruitment, training and ancillary provisions for the recruitment of Lok Rakshaks.
Further, it was stated that on the satisfactory completion of five years of service, such appointees would be eligible for regular appointment in the cadre of police constables in the pay scale of Rs 2,750-4,400. The division bench said while dismissing the petition: “The fact that the government was facing acute financial difficulties and also that a large number of Lok Rakshaks were already appointed, with some of them already having been regularly appointed as constables after the completion of five years, the court cannot grant the relief sought for by the petitioners.”
Orissa High Court orders CBI probe into multi-crore derivative scam
28 Aug 2009, 2104 hrs IST, Nageshwar Patnaik, ET Bureau
In a significant development, the Orissa high court on Thursday ordered a CBI probe into the alleged Rs 25-lakh crore derivative scam in the country.
The case involves Indian business houses which suffered huge losses on account of exchange of derivative contracts that they entered into a couple of years ago to hedge their foreign exchange risks.
When the dollar rose substantially, corporate houses were forced to deal with lower rates because of derivative agreements. For instance, when they were supposed to get Rs 50 against a dollar for the price of goods exported, they were paid Rs 40 as per the derivative agreements. The dealers were allegedly pocketing the differential Rs 10.
The extra money pocketed by the dealer is alleged to be in the order of Rs 25 lakh crore, most of which went to foreign countries or to some unknown hands instead of coming to the forex reserves of the country. Al this has been done in connivance with some government officials, a local businessman, who had filed a PIL in the Orissa high court, alleged.
Demanding a CBI probe into the alleged scam, the petitioner sought to know where the rest of the money went and who the beneficiaries were.
On hearing the petition, a division bench of the high court comprising acting chief justice I.M.Qudusi and justice Kumari Sanju Panda directed the CBI to probe into the matter and file a preliminary report to the court by November this year.
Surya namaskar should not be made compulsory: court
August 28th, 2009 SindhToday
Bhopal, Aug 28 (IANS) The Madhya Pradesh High Court in an interim order Friday directed the state government not to force educational institutions to conduct the yoga exercise suraya namaskar, or salutation to the sun.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state government had two years ago made ’surya namaskar’ compulsory in schools and colleges – which the minorities, Christians and Muslims, protested as an attempt to impose Hindu rituals on students of minority communities.
The Catholic Church went to the Madhya Pradesh High Court bringing to its notice that the order of the state government violates Section 25 to 30 of the Fundamental Rights of the Constitution under which the minority institutions are governed.
Advocate Rajesh Chand who appeared for the Catholic Church on behalf of Fr. Anand Muttungal (church spokesman) also pointed out that the order was against the interim order of the high court in the same matter in 2007.
He requested the court to give an interim order to stop the state government from making surya namaskar compulsory and initiate action against officials who violate the court order.
“In the light of the above arguments, the Jabalpur bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court comprising of Chief Justice A.K. Patnayik and Ajit Singh, Friday issued an interim order to the government to abstain from exerting any preasure on students and schools that do not take part in the surya namaskar,” Rajesh Chand told IANS.
The court, he said, has also issued notices to the chief secretary, principal secretary education, education commissioner, district education officer Jhabua and Rajgarh in this regard.
Archbishop Dr. Leo Cornelio, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Council, has welcomed the order of the court.
HC seeks details from govt on cable TV news
TNN 29 August 2009, 05:35am IST
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court on Friday sought details from the state government following a PIL filed against the cable TV network that broadcast news without obtaining necessary licence.
The petitioner, former president of Dahod municipality Mahesh Desai, has also urged the court to direct the state government to formulate necessary policy to regulate news by cable network operators. A division bench headed by Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan asked the public prosecutor to get necessary instructions from the government in this regard, and kept further hearing after 10 days.
Desai has primarily raised objections against the local cable operator, Kaid Chunawala, who runs Dahod Television Network, and accused him of indulging in nefarious activities under the guise of news production.
Besides containing the local cable operator, the petitioner has sought directions to the state to frame guidelines to control the activities of cable TV operators across the state, and to stop operations of cable news operators that run the network without obtaining necessary licence from the district collectorate.
However, the PIL also demands that the authorities should effectively implement the existing Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the rules framed under it. Moreover, the court has been urged to direct the state government to frame relevant provisions to regulate the business of news by cable operators in Gujarat.
Are police the most influential? asks HC
Abhinav Sharma, TNN 29 August 2009, 06:12am IST
JAIPUR: Rajasthan High Court on Friday came down heavily on the state police for protecting their two errant colleagues, accused of roughing up the husband of a woman advocate in the premises of the court of additional district judge, Sambhar.
According to a PIL filed by Anita Khandelwal, a practising lawyer of the high court, she went to the court of ADJ, Sambhar on May 18, accompanied by her husband to argue a criminal case.
While coming out of the court room, she saw Kajod Singh, assistant sub inspector (ASI) of Renwaal police station, talking to her husband in a high pitch, to which she objected. Soon, Anita and her husband were roughed up by the police in the court compound.
Kajod was allegedly assisted by Karan Singh, station house officer of Jobner police station, who had no jurisdiction there and had no connection with the matter which was being investigated by the ASI. Kajod allegedly mistook her husband for her client for whom she had come to argue the matter in the court on that day.
After receiving her complaint, the high court had directed the police to produce the errant officers before the court.
However, the police granted them bail after charging them under a minor offence. Earlier, the ADJ Sambhar, in his report to the court, had mentioned that he and the members of the bar took pain to get the husband of the advocate released from the illegal custody of the police officers.
When the case came up for hearing again on Friday, a division Bench comprising Chief Justice Jagdish Bhalla and Justice M N Bhandari strongly criticized the conduct of the police in the case.
“The courts are blamed for going slow when some influential or rich person is involved in a matter, which is not true.
But it appears that the men in khaki are the most influential people always. We cannot trust these people for the way
they have acted in the present case..” observed Chief Justice Bhalla.“In May, this court ordered the arrest of SHO Jobner and one ASI but instead the police allowed them to abscond…It is a very serious matter. The police administration has played a mischief with the court. Nobody can trust the police for these reasons…If this is the position of police in the court, then we can understand what the police do with the common man,” added Justice Munishvar Nath Bhandari.
Additional advocate general R P Singh, meanwhile, tried to explain that the order to ensure appearance of the accused police officials was misunderstood and therefore they were enlarged on bail. Pat came the query of the chief justice: “Who failed to understand our order, please name him.” Unable to answer the query, the counsel for the state government sought time from the court to file the details under what cirucmstances the accused policemen were granted bail and how did the police fail to ensure their presence before the court.
The court, meanwhile, asked the two accused policemen, who were present in the court, to engage a lawyer if they want to do so and adjourned the matter with a clear warning to the state government that the court is extremely serious on the issue and the guilty shall not be allowed to go scott free.
HC sets aside Mumbai CAT order in Virk case
Swati Deshpande, TNN 29 August 2009, 03:27am ISTMUMBAI: In a setback to state DGP S S Virk, the Bombay high court on Friday upheld the plea of the Punjab government that the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in Mumbai did not have the jurisdiction to hear a matter regarding disciplinary proceedings against the senior IPS officer as the same case is already pending before the Punjab & Haryana HC.
Legal proceedings were already initiated by Virk before CAT, Chandigarh, and are pending before the Punjab HC with regard to a chargesheet dated April 20, 2007. The HC also observed that Virk had “never attempted to transfer those proceedings to the Mumbai bench of CAT even till the final order there”. This means that Virk, now posted in Maharashtra, will have to fight this case in Punjab.
A bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Ajay Khanwilkar-while setting aside a July 14, 2009, order passed by CAT, Mumbai-said it was “unsustainable and an improper exercise of jurisdiction.”
The Mumbai CAT order was in response to an application made by Virk after his repatriation to his parent Maharashtra cadre. He had challenged a chargesheet in a disciplinary action initiated against him by the Punjab government in 2007 during his deputation there.
“The tribunal in Mumbai ought to have considered whether it was just, fair and proper for it to exercise its jurisdiction over a matter that is still pending before the Punjab high court,” the HC judges said.
The Punjab government had moved the Bombay HC challenging the jurisdiction of the CAT in Mumbai to decide Virk’s pleas. The Mumbai tribunal in July had dismissed the preliminary objection raised by the Punjab government regarding its jurisdiction.
CAT, Chandigarh, had quashed Virk’s suspension order of April 4, 2007, and directed all material collected by the Punjab government in the disciplinary proceedings against Virk be sent to the Centre for a decision. In response to an appeal by the Punjab government, the Punjab & Haryana HC stayed the CAT order. Virk then went to the Supreme Court which in May 16, 2008, upheld the Chandigarh CAT order and upheld his repatriation. He was subsequently on May 29, 2008, appointed Maharashtra DGP (housing) and later he moved CAT, Mumbai.
HC confirms bail granted to JD(U) MLA
TNN 29 August 2009, 05:11am IST
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Friday confirmed the provisional bail granted to JD(U) MLA Shashi Kumar Rai by the Special Judge, CBI, Patna, in former science and technology minister Brij Bihari Prasad murder case in the wake of suspension of his sentence by the trial court to enable him to move a criminal appeal in the HC to challenge the verdict.
Rai had sought suspension of his sentence and bail to move the HC. A division bench, comprising Justice Navin Sinha and Justice Dharnidhar Jha, admitted the criminal appeal of Rai challenging the verdict of the Special Judge, CBI, who had sentenced him to two years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000.
The court, however, stayed the order of the Special Judge imposing Rs 10,000 fine on Rai. The division bench called for case diary in the case.
Rai was sentenced to two years imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 fine for harbouring the main accused in the Prasad murder case, including former MLA Rajan Tiwari, former MP Suraj Bhan Singh and JD(U) MLA Munna Shukla, who were among the main accused in the case and were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Special Judge. CBI.
The charge against Rai was that he had harboured the assailants in the case as they had parked their vehicles, which they used to reach the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences in Patna to shoot Prasad, at his residence.
Directive on APOs: A division bench, comprising Chief Justice P K Misra and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, on Friday directed the state government to inform the court as to what steps it has taken to increase the number of sanctioned posts of assistant public officers (APOs).
The order was passed on a PIL of the Bihar Prosecution Officers’ Association which has sought increase in the number of posts of APOs from 550 to 749. The association also sought facilities for them, including library, vehicles and assistants.
HC admits winding up plea against Subhiksha
TNN 29 August 2009, 12:50am IST
CHENNAI: The hope of a revival in the fortunes of the beleaguered deep discount retail chain – Subhiksha seems dashed, with the Madras High Court on Friday admitting a winding-up petition filed by Kotak Mahindra Bank.
The high court passed orders for publication of advertisement in national dailies by Kotak Mahindra Bank. The advertisement will seek objections, if any, from stakeholders about the closure of the company. The retailer owes Kotak around Rs 40 crore. The next hearing will come up on September 22, 2009.
In another blow, Tamil Nadu’s top court has dismissed the scheme of arrangement that Subhiksha had proposed with its creditors which entailed a compromise formula with lenders through principal and interest waivers. However, the high court deferred the appointment of a provisional liquidator, as an appeal in this regard is pending before a division bench.
R Subramanian, founder of Subhiksha, maintained that the order “admitting the winding up petitions for hearing by the court has no bearing whatsoever on its revival plans”. He said the company was confident that it can effect a revival plan with the support of “all well meaning” stakeholders. Subhiksha will take a decision on appealing against the orders once it receives copies of the judgements, he said.
Subhiksha owes more than Rs 800 crore to a consortium of 13 banks. The retailer knocked the doors of the corporate debt restructuring (CDR) cell to reschedule loans. The deadline for the CDR process to end was July 31.
HC dismisses Subhiksha compromise plea
Earlier this month, Subhiksha’s shareholder Cash and Carry Wholesale Traders Pvt. Ltd had filed an application under Section 391 of the Companies Act, 1956, to seek a compromise between Subhiksha and its creditors to whom the retailer owes at least Rs750 crore
New Delhi: The Madras high court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by a shareholder of Subhiksha Trading Service Ltd that sought a compromise between the beleaguered retailer and its creditors.
“The court thought the compromise will not be a worthwhile one and, therefore, dismissed (the petition),” said Prakash Goklaney, a lawyer representing Subhiksha. “It said the compromise appeal is conditional to a merger and the debts will be discharged by a (proposed) merged entity.”
Goklaney was referring to Subhiksha’s plans to merge with Blue Green Constructions and Investment Ltd, a company that the Chennai-based retailer acquired last year.
Earlier this month, Subhiksha’s shareholder Cash and Carry Wholesale Traders Pvt. Ltd had filed an application under Section 391 of the Companies Act, 1956, to seek a compromise between Subhiksha and its creditors to whom the retailer owes at least Rs750 crore.
R. Subramanian, managing director of Subhiksha, said that Cash and Carry Wholesale plans to appeal against the dismissal once it receives the court’s order.
Cash and Carry Wholesale Traders is indirectly owned by companies promoted by Subramanian.
While dismissing the Cash and Carry Wholesale’s petition, the court also admitted two winding up petitions filed against Subhiksha by Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd and HCL Infosystems Ltd. Kotak Mahindra is not a part of the bank consortium that is working on a corporate debt restructuring (CDR) scheme to revive the retailer.
Subhiksha owes Rs40 crore to Kotak Mahindra. The bank’s lawyer Karthik Seshadri confirmed the dismissal of Cash and Carry Wholesale’s compromise petition.
Thirteen banks, including ICICI Bank Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd and Bank of Baroda, have asked for an extension of CDR after they failed to complete the process by its 31 July deadline.
“The company is confident that the order admitting the winding up petitions for hearing by the (Honorable) Court has no bearing whatsoever on its revival plans,” Subramanian said in an emailed press statement.
Once the country’s largest operator of discount supermarkets, Subhiksha earlier this year shuttered its operations of about 1,600 stores after it ran out of money as it failed to raise cash either from the stock market or from banks.
Meanwhile, Subramanian said Subhiksha will continue with its efforts to revive.
HC rejects bag makers’ plea
TNN 29 August 2009, 03:53am IST
NEW DELHI: On Friday, the Delhi High Court dismissed a plea regarding use of non-woven bags in the city.
A division bench of Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Veena Birbal rejected the plea of one Praveen Mittal, who had moved against the department of environment with regard to the use of non-woven bags.
According to the petitioner, the non-woven bags manufactured by him did not strictly fall under the category of plastic bags
. Claiming that the bags did not have essential characteristics of plastic, he said he should be allowed to use the same.
The department on environment, however, countered his claims by stating that the non-woven bags were clearly in the ambit of the expresion “plastic bags” in as much as they contain 98.3 % polypropylene, a chemical used in plastic.
HC admits appeal of 2003 blasts convict facing death penalty
Posted by Top Headlines
Bombay HC admitted an appeal filed by Ashrat Ansari challenging capital punishment awarded to him by a POTA court for his role in the 2003 bomb blasts.
August 28, 2009 By: admin
Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, the main accused in the Malegaon blast case, has moved the Bombay High Court seeking bail, after her plea was rejected by the Maharashtra Control Of Organised Crime Act court. The court on Friday adjourned the hearing for two weeks as the Anti Terrorism Squad sought time to file its reply. Earlier, the special MCOCA court had rejected her bail application. According to Thakur’s lawyer, advocate Ganesh Sowani, she had been illegally detained.
We’re following resolutions on assets declaration: CJI
NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan on Friday said every Supreme Court judge was following the 1997 resolutions on declaration of assets, and denied reports that these were not being implemented properly.
Talking to journalists here, he said the August 26, 2009 resolution passed by the Full was unanimous. “We are strictly following the 1997 resolutions, under which the disclosures were not to be made public. Now, because of the changed circumstances, we will put the details on the court website.”
The two resolutions adopted at the Full Court Meeting on May 7, 1997 are:
“Resolved that an in-house procedure should be devised by the Chief Justice of India to take suitable remedial action against Judges who, by their acts of omission or commission, do not follow the universally accepted values of judicial life, including those indicated in the ‘restatement of values of judicial life.’
“Resolved further that every Judge should make a declaration of all his/her assets in the form of real estate or investment (held by him/her in his/her own name or in the name of his/her spouse or any person dependent on him/her) within a reasonable time of assuming office and in the case of sitting Judges within a reasonable time of adoption of this resolution and thereafter whenever any acquisition of a substantial nature is made, it shall be disclosed within a reasonable time. The declaration so made should be to the Chief Justice of the Court. The Chief Justice makes a similar declaration for the purpose of the record. The declaration made by the Judges or the Chief Justice, as the case may be, shall be confidential.”
Justice Balakrishnan said the Supreme Court judges had been submitting statements of their assets to the CJI.
Referring to the August 26 resolution, he said every Supreme Court Judge would disclose his assets in accordance with the 1997 resolutions.
He said: “The declaration of assets will take some time, as the statement has not been updated, and the judges want some time to update it. I am giving some time to them to get it updated after 2002-03. The declaration of assets on the website will be according to the resolutions of 1997.”
Asked how long it would take to put the details on the website, he said it could be done in a month.
No decision on format
On the scope of the information to be put on the website, he said: “We have not taken any decision on the format which will be applied for declaring the assets. It will take some time. The whole procedure would take a month or more. Different procedure is followed in every country. In the United States, such declaration of assets by judges is beyond the scope of the Right to Information Act. Argentina follows another method. We are yet to decide on the format.”
Asked whether questions on such declarations would be entertained, Justice Balakrishnan said: “We have not decided any thing on the issue.”
Asked whether he would ask the High Courts to adopt similar resolutions, the CJI said they could not be compelled to follow suit. Even the 1997 resolutions were not adopted by many High Courts. However, “this time I think that at least some of the High Courts will follow us.”
HC seeks copy of judge’s letter to CJI
First Published : 28 Aug 2009 03:36:00 AM IST
Last Updated :
CHENNAI: The quo-warranto writ petition questioning under what authority RK Chandramohan, who was involved in a serious controversy in the matter relating to attempting to influence a judge, was continuing in the post of chairman of Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry took a new twist on Thursday with a division bench of the Madras High Court directing the Registry to produce before it the letter addressed by the judge to the Chief Justice.
Originally, advocate ‘Elephant’ G Rajendran filed the quo-warranto. Basing on newspaper reports, he alleged that Chandramohan attempted to influence Justice Regupathi in a matter relating to anticipatory bail to a doctor father and medico son. The judge had admitted in the open court that a Union Minister tried to influence him, Rajendran further alleged. However, a few days later it was clarified by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) that the advocate (Chandramohan) had met the judge (Justice Regupathi) only in the latter’s chamber and requested the judge to speak to a union minister who was on his cell phone. The judge, however, rejected the plea.
The CJI said that he came to know this through a letter addressed by Justice Regupathi to Madras High Court Chief Justice HL Gokhale.
When the matter came up today, Rajendran told a division bench comprising Justice FM Ibrahim Kalifulla and Justice R Banumathi that a reading of the letter might throw more light on the issue. And the bench directed the Registrar-General to inform the court as to whether any such letter was addressed by Justice Regupathi to Chief Justice Gokhale. “If any such letter was really addressed, the same may be circulated to this court,’’ the bench said and posted to August 31 further hearing on the petition.
CJI acting like dictator
By Sunita ⋅ August 28, 2009
If someone has nothing to hide then, he willingly disclose every assets , only those who has something to hide and illegal they only deny.
NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan on Friday asserted that his office was out of the purview of the country’s transparency law,the Right to Information Act.
“The office of the Chief Justice is privy to so much of information like privileged communication between various constitutional authorities, complaints against judges etc. How can all this information be disclosed (under the RTI Act)?” he asked during an interaction with reporters here.
He made the assertion when asked if the Supreme Court would withdraw its lawsuit from the Delhi High Court against the Central Information Commission (CIC) ruling on the disclosure of the judges’ assets now that the apex court judges have decided to make their assets public.
“It (the apex court’s lawsuit) has nothing to do with the disclosure of assets. The CIC had ruled that whatever information is with the Chief Justice has to be with the registrar,” Balakrishnan said, adding it was “this aspect (of the CIC ruling) which we have challenged”.
The Chief Justice said that the apex court’s registry might not have even an inkling of the majority of the information that his office might have on various issues, ranging from those linked to judicial appointments, to complaints against judges and much more.
Citing an example, he said that many a times, draft judgements written by a judge go to various other judges of the bench for vetting and approval.
“How can such draft judgements be disclosed before their pronouncement in the court room?” he asked.
Asked by when the details of the apex court judges’ assets would be available on the court’s website, he said it might take “a month or so”.
The Chief Justice said that the decision to make the apex court judges’ assets public “was taken in changed circumstances.”
But he laughed away a question as to whether the changed circumstances arose due to “mounting public pressure or the changes in judicial conscience”.
On the prospect of various high courts following suit on the issue of making public the assets of their judges, Balakrishnan said he would let the high courts take their own decisions.
“Let them take their own decisions. I am told that the Delhi High Court is even meeting on the issue,” he pointed out.
“The high courts are not under the administrative control of the Supreme Court. Only the Supreme Court’s judicial orders are binding upon them, not the administrative orders,” Balakrishnan explained.
However, he lamented that some of the high courts in the country are yet to follow the Supreme Court’s example according to which its judges disclose their assets to the Chief Justice.
The high courts judges, too, were supposed to follow the apex court’s example and their judges were supposed to declare their assets to their respective chief justices.
Balakrishnan parried a question on the absence of women judges in the Supreme Court, saying: “The House of Lords had taken 100 years to find a woman judge.”
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Update on domestic violence cases, HC to govt
TNN 28 August 2009, 04:02am IST
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court has asked for details from the state government regarding status of cases filed under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act after a PIL was filed by an NGO demanding proper implementation of this law in the state.
A Dangs-based organisation, Asil Manch, filed this PIL through advocate Shilpa Shah complaining that the state government has not taking proper measure to implement the Domestic Violence Act. After conducting a survey across Gujarat, the petitioner has claimed that the government has not appointed any NGO as service provider to help out the victims, which is a primary provision in the law.
The PIL has brought to the notice of the court that the shelter homes to be notified by the government for victims of domestic violence are not enough. There are only 21 shelter homes in 16 districts, while the other 10 districts do not have them at all. Besides this, the NGO has claimed that appointment of protection officers is not satisfactory.
“So far as provision is concerned, the state government has miserably failed in making individual appointments of protections officers. The district social defence officers in 22 districts are given additional charge of protection officer for the purpose of this Act. No preference has been given to a woman for the post,” the petition read.
Moreover, the PIL also blamed the court for unnecessary delay in disposing of the cases. Against guidelines of completing the case within two months, only 6 per cent cases were disposed of in the given time frame, while 82.5 per cent cases are still pending. Even the protection officers are slow in reporting the cases to judicial magistrate, as they could not submit 24 per cent cases to courts even after 90 days.
The court has kept further proceedings on this PIL after two weeks.
MP HC: PIL against North South corridor diversion disposed of
The Madhya Pradesh High Court has disposed of a PIL challenging the proposed diversion of the road route of the National North South Corridor connecting Mahakaushal area to South India after the Central and State Governments submitted an affidavit assuring that the construction programme would remain unchanged as per the original scheme passed by the Union Cabinet.
Hearing Advocate Manish Kesharwani’s petition challenging the proposed diversion of the corridor from Seoni to Chhindwara, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Anang Kumar Patnaik and Justice Panjak Jaiswal disposed of the same after the State Government and Union Ministry gave an affidavit that there would not be any change in the original proposal.
Petitioner’s Counsel Adarsh Muni Trivedi submitted before the court that the proposal was passed by the Union Cabinet, but Union Minister Kamal Nath was pressing for moving the corridor to Chhindwara Constituency which was “arbitrary and illegal.” Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Kamal Nath represents Chhindwara constituency in the Lok Sabha.
Mr Trivedi also produced various documents stating that the attempts made by Mr Kamal Nath to leave Seoni aside. He said moving the project to Chhindwara would add another 73 km to the project, costing more expenditure for the State exchequer and resulting in felling of far more trees.
On August 21, local denizens and politicians had staged Mahabandh from 0700 hrs to 2100 hrs to protest its shifting from Seoni to Chhindwara.
All the commercial establishments, markets, government offices, academic institutes and all the small shops had remained closed. Janmanch was also supported by around all social, commercial institutes, Advocates Union, Medicines Sellers Union, Bharatiya Janata Party Minority Morcha, Teachers Union, District Congress Committee and Transport Association.
Voting through EVM reveals voters’ identity, says PIL
STAFF WRITER 19:36 HRS IST
Mumbai, Aug 27 (PTI) A PIL has demanded that election commission should not reveal voting figures of individual Electronic Voting Machines, as it violates principle of secret ballot.
Varsha Deshpande, a Satara-based lawyer, has filed the petition. Her lawyer advocate Uday Warunjikar today argued that prior to EVMs, ballot boxes from all voting booths would be first collected, and ballot papers would be mixed, to make it impossible to know whether a candidate has been favoured or not by a particular locality.
But in the current system, vote break-up of each EVM is disclosed, and a candidate can easily find out which locality has not voted well for him, Warunjikar said.
This may lead to vengeful targeting of the locality by ruling politicians, he said.
Tribal woman wins legal battle after 15 years
Madras High Court directs State government to pay a compensation of Rs.1 lakh for the custodial death of her husband in 1994
G. Pushpamani, belonging to the Paliyar tribe living in the Western Ghats, and her two children heaved a sigh of relief on Friday as the Madras High Court directed the State government to pay them a compensation of Rs.1 lakh for the custodial death of her husband in 1994.
Allowing a criminal original petition filed by the tribal woman before the principal seat of the High Court in Chennai in 1997, Justice G.M. Akbar Ali ordered to disburse the money within three months. The petition was transferred to the Madurai Bench pursuant to its establishment in July 2004.
Recalling the history of the case, the judge said the petitioner’s husband Ganesan was picked up by the forest officials on September 12, 1994 for interrogation into the death of an elephant in Velpathikadu, a dense forest around 15 km from Puliyangudi in Sivagiri taluk of Tirunelveli district.
A day after, he was found dead in a toilet on the premises of the Sankarankovil Range office of the Forest Department and the officials claimed it to be a suicide. The Tenkasi Revenue Divisional Officer, on enquiry, found it to be a case of custodial death and initiated criminal prosecution against the forest officials.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) too called for a report on the incident and asked the government on May 23, 1995 to pay a compensation of Rs. 50,000 from the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund without prejudice to the petitioner’s right to claim any other benefits. The amount was paid on July 11, 1995.
However, the woman approached the Legal Aid Board and filed the present petition seeking a balance of Rs. 1 lakh which she was entitled to under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995. She also sought a direction to the Collector to provide food, clothing, shelter and other such things.
The government contended that she was not entitled to the compensation as the SC/ST Rules framed in 1995, a year after the death, cannot be applied retrospectively. Counsel also pointed out that the forest officials had been acquitted in the criminal case lodged against them.
Rejecting the contentions, the judge agreed with petitioner’s counsel P. Rathinam and T. Lajapathi Roy that she would be entitled to compensation under the SC/ST Rules as they were framed three months prior to the disbursement of the compensation given as per the directions of the NHRC.
“The petitioner has been knocking at the doors of the government and also approached this court by filing the petition in 1997 for fair compensation and for rehabilitation. More than 12 years have passed, yet the petitioner has not been answered. The subsequent acquittal of the offenders will not disentitle the victim from receiving just and reasonable compensation,” the judge said.
Stating that her plea to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical aid, transport facilities and other essential items as per the SC/ST Rules might not be necessary now due to the passage of nearly 15 years, the judge however directed the Collector to explore the possibility of rehabilitation if the petitioner or her children approached him.
UP Government says will submit abattoir action plan in a week to NHRC 2009-08-http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?a=ji2sy8cjfhh&title=UP_Government_says_will_submit_abattoir_action_plan_in_a_week_to_NHRC
Illegal furnaces posing a health hazard’
August 29th, 2009 – 12:04 am ICT by IANS -
New Delhi, Aug 28 (IANS) Following a notice from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Uttar Pradesh government has admitted that extraction of animal bone fat in illegal furnaces in Meerut city is causing pollution and posing a serious health hazard.
The state’s chief secretary Aug 25 admitted to the health implications and said that corrective measures would be taken, a NHRC official said Friday.
According to the official, the commission has been informed that 24 teams have been constituted to ensure that illegal furnaces for extraction of fat are not allowed to operate.
The commission had Aug 10 issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government on removing the illegal furnaces, stressing that the right to health is a fundamental right. It was pointed out that the slaughtered animals’ blood and waste was being flushed through open drains, resulting in the pollution of drinking water.
“In response, the UP (Uttar Pradesh) government said that the various entry points through which animal remains were being brought into the city have been plugged,” the NHRC official said.
“However, the district administration has sought some time to develop synergy with all stakeholders and the other government agencies before taking steps for removal of the furnaces in the ci”y,” he added.
ACHR asks Meghalaya govt for rs 10 lakh for teenager’s death
The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) has urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to direct the Meghalaya government to act against policemen responsible for the death of a teenager.
Seventeen-year-old Sngewlem Kharsati of Puriang village in State’s East Khasi Hills district was picked up by police on May 9 allegedly in an extortion case and was beaten to death in Mawryngkneng police station.
The Delhi-based ACHR also demanded an interim compensation of Rs 10 lakh be paid to the next of kin of Kharsati.
However, last week, the State Government announced Rs 2 lakh compensation and initiated actions against the policemen.
The state government has found a number of police personnel guilty for the death of the teenager.
On May 11, the ACHR filed a complaint with the NHRC after the relatives of the boy provided the former with an FIR.
People’s Watch approaches NHRC against Police torture
The arrest of a Bhubaneswar based scribe issue took a new turn when a human rights group approached NHRC alleging serious human rights violation. People’s Watch requested NHRC and SHRC to take necessary action against the law violators.
Thu, Aug 27, 2009 10:39:32 IST
CASE OF Police torture and illegal arrest of a Bhubaneswar based journalist took a new turn on Wednesday (August 26), when a human rights group approached Indian National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and alleged serious human right violation.
People’s Watch, a national level organisation working for the protection of civil rights of the citizen, approached NHRC and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) to intervene the case and requested the authority to take necessary action against the law violators.
In a petition to NHRC, the organisation alleged that the police officials had misbehaved, beaten and dragged the journalist to the police vehicle during the arrest in a local market.
“Forty one-year-old Biswambar Baliarsingh, editor of a weekly newspaper ‘Ghurnibatya‘ was continuously writing about the common man’s problem and police atrocity. So, Orissa police has arbitrary and intentionally arrested the journalist,” said Manoj Jena, co-coordinator of People’s Watch, who recently headed a fact finding team and met the arrested journalist in the Bhubaneswar Jharpada Jail.
In its petition People’s Watch alleged that Doleswar Nayak, the assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of Balipatana Police station, on August 16, 2009, evening came with four constables to near by Adalabad Market when the journalist was busy for marketing. The ASI dragged the journalist into police vehicle without informing the cause of his arrest and used slang and unparliamentary languages and beaten him ruthlessly. Even the police didn’t allow him to inform his family members about this arrest.
In police custody neither he was served any dinner nor allowed to urinate. The plight didn’t end there. On very next day when he was forwarded to a local court, again Biswambar Baliarsingh had to face the misbehaviour of the police inside the courtroom. The arrested journalist told the fact finding team, informed Jena.
Baliarsingh further narrates the incident before the fact finding team. He met the branch manager of local Rajas Neelachal Gramya Bank of Balipatna on July 25, 2009, and requested for a loan. Then after three days when he visited the bank, Baliarsingh noticed that a local farmer was having a serious argument with the branch manager over a loan issue. He intervened and solved the matter between the two. And than after waiting for more than three hours when he tried to talk to the bank manager, suddenly the latter ordered the watchman to move out the people along with Baliarsingh. He also tried to convince the manager that he was not an intruder rather an invitee by him.
“In the first week of August, the bank officer came with some goons and threatened me to kill if I further argue with him. At that time some villagers were also present. When I asked the manager why he was accompanied by goons, they abused me. At the intervention of the villagers the mater was solved there,” Baliarsingh said to the fact finding team.
In the meantime the journalist came to know that the manager had filed an FIR against him under Balipatna Police station. The journalist also filed an FIR against the manager before the
commissioner of Bhubaneswar Police through registered post. But no action was taken. On the other hand, police made his arrest without any investigation, alleges Manoj.
People’s Watch also demands before Orissa government to take necessary actions against the police officials.
Disclosure of Assets
Delhi, Kerala HC judges follow suit
New Delhi/Kochi, August 28
Judges of the Delhi and Kerala high courts today decided to make public details of their assets – the first in the state judiciary – two days after a landmark decision by the Supreme Court judges to reveal information about their wealth.
The asset details, which are at the core of an intense public debate in the country, are expected to be put up on the websites of the respective courts in a couple of months since the modalities and the manner of declaration are being finalised.
The move by the two high courts came even as Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan suggested that the judges of high courts cannot be compelled by the apex judiciary to follow suit. Balakrishnan, however, hoped that some of the high courts would follow the apex court.
Justice Balakrishnan said SC judges would make their assets public on the official website in a “month or more”. “It is a unanimous decision and every judge of the Supreme Court will disclose his assets,” the CJI told mediapersons in reply to a question if there was any apprehension that some apex court judges might not agree.
A resolution adopted after the full court meeting of the Delhi High Court said all judges had agreed to make their assets public.
In Kochi, the Kerala High Court also took the decision at a full court meeting. The assets of the 33 judges, including Chief Justice SR Bannurmath, would be posted on the court website by September 30, Registrar General D Srivalabhan said. — PTI
Justice Mudgal tipped to be CJ of
Punjab & Haryana HC
CJ Thakur’s name cleared for SC
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 28
Justice Mukul Mudgal of the Delhi High Court is tipped to be the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court High Court, with the apex court collegium clearing the name of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur for elevation to the Supreme Court.
It is believed Chief Justice Thakur will have a chance to become the CJI and remain on the post for about two years.
Justice J.S. Khehar’s name too has been cleared for elevation as the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court. After Chief Justice Thakur, he was the senior most judge.
Justice Mudgal was appointed as a Judge of the Delhi High Court on March 2, 1998. He has done his schooling at Modern School, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi, and B.Sc. (Hons) from Hindu College, and LL.B from Delhi University.
He successfully represented the eight banned cricketers in the Supreme Court as a counsel in 1989, and appeared as an amicus curiae in vital public interest cases cases, including cases of prison reforms and environment law.
Information suggests the collegium has recommended the elevation of five Chief Justices to the SC, including Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar (60), who remained acting Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh from October 3, 2006 to November 28, 2006. He is currently the Chief Justice of the Calcutta HC.
At its meetings spread over two days, the collegium also cleared the elevation of the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court Ananga Kumar Patnaik; Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court P.D. Dinakaran; and the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court K.S. Radhakrishnan.
Justice Thakur (57) who is from Jammu and Kashmir, was appointed acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court in April 2008. He took over as Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on August 11, 2008.
His tenure saw reduction in the pendency of cases, with the number of cases disposed of being more than the filed. The rules for the appointment of additional district and sessions judges in the lower judiciary too were amended. The mandatory condition of clearing the Hindi examination in Haryana was relaxed; and the percentage was lowered for SC/ST candidates.
His move to seek the assistance of retired judges to dispose of the cases to cut down on pendency was widely appreciated during the conference of the chief justices and the chief ministers held in New Delhi recently.
Dimpy claims threats from Virk’s men
Tribune News Service
Mohali, August 28
The district court here witnessed high drama when Vijay Pal Singh Dimpy, a co-accused in the case against former Punjab DGP SS Virk, filed an application alleged he had been threatened by “supporters” of the principal suspects to sign on blank papers. Both he and Virk were present at today’s hearing on the disproportionate assets case.
Soon after Dimpy appeared in the court he moved the application through his counsel. “I called up the investigating officer in the case, DIG (vigilance) AS Asthana, who agreed to provide me security cover”, he told The Tribune.
On the other hand, counsel for Virk AS Sukhija said, “It was all preplanned as police personnel were already present in the court. Dimpy has been won over by the prosecution and the stage is being set for him to turn an approver.”
Dimpy, however, claimed he had been repeatedly threatened by Virk’s “supporters.” Till now the vigilance had maintained that Dimpy had been buying real estate property on behalf of the ex-DGP.
Earlier, during the hearing of the case, the defense counsel sought more time for the next hearing as Virk had to come from Maharashtra. However, public prosecutor Pradeep Mehta demanded the date be fixed earlier. “In the eyes of the court the ex-DGP is an accused in the case”, he stated.
The defence lawyer has already challenged the content of the supplementary ‘challan’ in the vigilance case filed in the court by the investigating agency, which had claimed to have unearthed assets worth Rs 29.54 crore disproportionate to Virk’s known sources of income. According to Asthana, the ex-DGP had spent Rs 45.65 crore against an accounted income of Rs 16.1 crore from different sources.
The court has fixed September 10 for the next hearing in the case.
Summons issued to 8 witnesses in Badals’ case
Tribune News Service
Mohali, August 28
After issuing orders to re-examine important and material 38 witnesses in case of disproportionate assets case against Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, his wife Surinder Kaur and Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal, the court of special judge, Mohali, JS Klar today issued summons to eight of the witnesses in the case.
The witnesses had been left out, as they did not support the prosecution or were given on the police request. The judge observed that the statement of the left out witnesses had been quite relevant to the controversy of the case, as their statement had been found to be essential for adjudication of the case. The next date of hearing has been fixed for September 14.
HC: State can hand over Shopian case to CBI
Kumar Rakesh/Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, August 28
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court today gave its nod to the government’s decision to hand over Shopian probe to the CBI.
The Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Barin Ghosh said they would not come in the way if the government wanted to hand over the probe to the CBI.
The Bench had earlier reserved its decision after questioning the SIT investigation, which has not shed any light on the alleged rape and murder of two Shopian women on the intervening night of May 29-30.
The Bench had asked if the government wanted to transfer the case to the CBI as an eyewash after all evidence were destroyed.
Home Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar told The Tribune that the government would now take a decision and communicate with the CBI as it was waiting for the high court’s decision. A CBI spokesperson had already hinted that the agency was reluctant to take up the case. “The CM will take the final call,” Sagar said.
In another connected hearing, Justice Sunil Hali deferred the hearing on the bail plea of two arrested cops for Monday.
The arguments on the bail application of suspended SP Javed Iqbal and DSP Rohit Baskotra had begun yesterday and the Bar would make its arguments against bail to the cops on Monday.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has reiterated his determination to unearth the facts of Shopian incident assuring severe punishment to the culprits. “Nobody involved in covering or perpetuating to cover up the heinous crime will be tolerated,” he asserted and said there was no let up in the strong will of the government to punish the culprits.
Speaking to Independent Women’s Initiative Group here today, the Chief Minister said he would direct the SIT to work round the clock and make investigation more pro-active till the case was taken up by the CBI. “There should be no loose ends in the investigation at any point in time,” he said, according to an official spokesman.
Resignation of law officer accepted
Srinagar, August 28
The state government has accepted the resignation of Additional Advocate General Syed Riyaz Hussain, who represented the state in the Shopian case, as part of customary change in government lawyers with the change of guard.
Hussain was among the 26 government lawyers, including the Deputy Advocate General and 17 advocates who had resigned at the time of change of government after the Assembly poll early this year, official sources said today.
The Additional Advocate Generals and other government advocates who were appointed by the PDP-Congress coalition had tendered their resignation when the NC-Congress government took over on January 5.
The resignations were accepted last evening, sources said, adding that the government had appointed Ajaz Ahmad Chesti, Shabir Ahmad Vakil and Javid Kawoosa as Additional Advocate Generals for Srinagar wing of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
The decision came when the High Court is in the middle of a hearing on the bail applications of the two of the four arrested police officers in the Shopian case.
MCOCA charges against Salem not to be dropped: Court
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 28
A local court here today dismissed a plea of the Delhi Police to withdraw charges under the stringent anti-terror law, the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA), against jailed underworld don Abu Salem.
The police had filed the petition on the directions of the Central Government as MCOCA charges were in violation of the extradition treaty between India and Portugal. Salem was extradited from Portugal in 2005. The petition was filed under the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
The Centre had asked the Delhi Police to withdraw MCOCA charges after Salem approached the high court in Portugal alleging that the Indian authorities were acting in contravention of the extradition terms.
While extraditing Salem from Portugal to India, a treaty was signed between the two countries that had certain conditions. Portugal had stipulated that Salem should not be tried for any offence other than those charged against him at the time of extradition.
Moreover, it was also agreed that he could not be awarded death penalty, nor could be kept in jail for more than 25 years. The treaty also mentioned that Salem could not be booked under any special law (which included MCOCA as well) and could not be tried in more than nine criminal cases.
Academic punishment for ragging
Lucknow, August 28
The Allahabad Vice Chancellor has punished eight students for ragging in the most innovative manner. They have to read a new book from their prescribed law syllabus and write a 1000-word review within 15 days which the VC would personally assess.
A meeting headed by Vice Chancellor R.G. Harshe pronounced this “academic punishment” for all eights students from the five-year Law course who were reportedly involved in the ragging of a first year law student Anshul Aditya Tiwari at the University’s Shatabdi hostel on the night of August 18-19.
However, for the two main culprits, both second year students of BA (LLB), Sridhar Saran and Animesh Sharma “a more severe punishment” has been meted out. They have to pay Rs 20,000 as fine within a week and have to vacate the hostel for a year.
The Vice Chancellor has also asked both of them to express their regret in writing to the student they had ragged and furnish a copy of their apology to the Proctor of the university Dr Jatashankar.
The academic punishment has been given to the two main culprits as well as to six other students of the same course who were eyewitnesses to the ragging but did not take any steps to stop it.
Speaking to Tribune, AU’s Dean Students Welfare R K Singh said that in the dead of the night of August 18-19 these two students harassed this newcomer who had joined the hostel that very day and took him to the railway station. The six others saw it happening but did not come to the rescue of the new entrant.
The traumatised Tiwari quit the hostel and left for home and was under tremendous pressure not to reveal the incident, said Singh.
According to VC Harshe, academic punishment should be a deterrent for the students as their parents shell out the fine without causing them much real hardship.
Hizbul operative gets life term
Tribune News Service
Hyderabad, August 28
A city-based Hizbul Mujahideen operative, Mujeeb Ahmed, was today sentenced to life imprisonment and six of his associates to 10 years rigorous imprisonment on charges of sedition and procurement of arms for waging war against the country.
Mujeeb, a resident of Hyderabad who was earlier convicted and imprisoned for killing a senior police officer, was planning to carry out subversive activities in the city with the arms and ammunition smuggled from Kashmir.
Holding Mujeeb and six of his accomplices guilty under various sections of Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the first additional metropolitan sessions judge Sriramamurthy pronounced the quantum of sentence for the accused.
He and his associates, including his woman companion Zohra Nishat and brother-in-law Jahangir Khan, were arrested in December 2005 after Rajasthan police had seized a cache of arms hidden in a truck carrying marble to Hyderabad. The driver and cleaner of the lorry had told the police that the consignment was meant for Mujeeb.
Mujeeb was also convicted under Section 6 of the Indian Wireless and Telegraph Act for possessing a satellite phone. The police had recovered the phone from his residence. He had allegedly received from the Hizbul Mujahideen leader. Truck driver Shabbir Ahmed, cleaner Ravindera Kumar, Mohammed Yasin and Shaikh Awadh were the other accused sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 fine on Mujeeb and Rs 2,000 on each of the remaining accused.
Equality in education
Interest-free education loans pave the way
Access to higher education in India is marked by a high degree of inequality and the dice is heavily loaded in favour of the privileged and well-to-do sections of society. Now all this is likely to change. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved interest-free education loans to students from economically disadvantaged families who want to pursue technical or professional courses in recognised institutes. This should open doors for those who are denied the opportunity due to lack of money.
That the scheme employs income rather than caste as a determinant for interest subsidy implies that it will not only reach out to larger sections of society but will also be more widely acceptable. Unlike caste-based reservations, it doesn’t undermine merit. Besides, the upper ceiling of Rs 4.5 lakh, higher than the initial proposal of Rs 2.5 lakh, has been arrived at after much deliberation to widen the ambit and scope of the scheme. In the modern world education is an important means that increases social mobility. It guarantees individual success, is crucial to survival and allows people to break social barriers. Though the 1986 National Policy on Education states: “In higher education in general, and technical education in particular, steps will be taken to facilitate inter-regional mobility by providing equal access to every Indian of requisite merit, regardless of his origins” huge gaps have existed. Higher education has remained a preserve of the creamy layer. Affirmative action like the interest subsidy can provide a level-playing field provided there are no lapses in implementation.
The scheme has appropriate checks and balances in place to ensure that it is not misused. For one the interest subsidy shall be available only once and not to those who drop out on reasons other than medical grounds. However, the proposal to be applicable from the academic year 2009 to 2010 should not be caught in red tape.
Maya police told to be polite
Lucknow, Aug. 28: When an Uttar Pradesh cop calls someone bhagwan ki aulad (son of god) or Harijan, not many would be surprised.
Now, however, that might change. Mayavati has moved to make the state’s police stations better places by asking the poorly behaved force to tone up their etiquette, especially when dealing with lower castes, women and children.
State police chief Vikram Singh has sent out elaborate instructions asking officers not to use abusive language.
The move came after Mayavati — herself a Dalit and into her fourth stint as chief minister — last week summoned Singh and expressed shock over the series of atrocities against backward castes.
She is also said to have told him that she was appalled by the way suspects and those who came to lodge complaints were treated.
The chief minister’s rebuke followed complaints from rights bodies, including one from the New York-based Human Rights Watch in July that quoted a number of victims of the abuses.
The National Human Rights Organisation had also written to the government in May pointing out that it had received highest number of complaints from Uttar Pradesh.
DGP Singh’s reaction was swift. “Indecent manners of a policeman at the police station and use of harsh and abusive language downgrade the image of the department,” he said after issuing the instructions.
But the police chief is confronting an old enemy. For years now, his force has got used to hurling words like bhagwan ki aulad — proscribed under the SC/ST Act — and the obviously offensive ganda gali ka kutta (a dog from a dirty lane) at Dalits.
A retired officer summed up the situation. “Even after 32 years of my service, I don’t feel like visiting a police station in Uttar Pradesh,” said former inspector-general S.R. Darapuri.
He pointed out that having a Dalit as chief minister hadn’t stopped the force from insulting lower castes. “Even under Mayavati, a woman is called chamarin (someone who makes and repairs shoes and leather items).”
Darapuri said police stations often turned out to be hellish for rape victims. “Thana-level officers often ask a rape victim to count how many times she was raped and why she had allowed a man to rape her repeatedly,” he said.
It was common, he added, for low-caste victims to be addressed as “Tu and Teri” instead of the genteel “Aap”.
Rights activists have claimed that any trip to a police station in the state doesn’t pass without having to hear gender and caste slurs.
They also point to the discrimination: well-dressed visitors are greeted with respect and asked to sit on chair, the poor and backward castes are made to sit on the floor as they wait to file FIRs.
Now, DGP Singh wants that to end. In his instructions, he has also asked officers not to arrest the elderly and children under the Goonda Act, invoked in some districts.
But the Opposition has dismissed Mayavati’s politeness diktat as a “political gimmick”. Leader of Opposition, the Samajwadi Party’s Shivpal Singh Yadav, said the chief minister “doesn’t have patience to carry out reforms”.
CJI insists SC off RTI loop New Delhi, DH News Service:
Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on Friday insisted that the Supreme Court was outside the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act that mandates authorities to disclose information. But Justice Balakrishnan said the apex court would “abide” by any law Parliament enacted on declaration of assets.
In two separate but crucial developments, judges of the Kerala and Delhi High Courts decided they would declare their assets and publicise the information on the respective court websites. Kerala High Court judges would make the declaration on September 30. The Delhi High Court decided its judges would put up information relating to their assets in the public domain.
In an interview to legal correspondents here, Justice Balakrishnan said: “The office of chief justice is privy to many information like privileged communication between various constitutional authorities, including the President, complaints against judges, decision of collegia etc. How can all these information be disclosed and kept with the Supreme Court registry?’’
Justice Balakrishnan’s assertion was based on laws and practices in the United States, Argentina and other countries where the judges of apex courts are not under the ambit of any transparency law.
On whether the Supreme Court registry would withdraw the petition filed before the Delhi High Court challenging the CIC order, he said the issues before the court were not limited to deciding the assets declaration but other classified information. On the question of making public judges’ assets, Justice Balakrishnan said it was a consensus decision and it would take some time before placing all the relevant information on the court website. ‘’We have not taken any decision on the date of posting it on the website. The decision was in the line of the 1997 resolution taken by the full court on the assets issue,’’ he added.
He said his brother judges in the Supreme Court would abide by any law legislated by Parliament on declaration of assets.’
Judicial inquiry into ‘fake encounter’
IMPHAL: The Manipur government on Thursday appointed a judicial inquiry commission, to be headed by Justice (retd.) P. G. Aggarwal of the Gauhati High Court, to go into an alleged fake encounter.
The commission will look into the circumstances leading to the killing of a pregnant woman and a former militant here on July 23. Five persons were injured in the alleged encounter involving police commandos.
The commission has been asked to submit a report in two months and also make recommendations to prevent such incidents.
The government had earlier volunteered to conduct a departmental inquiry into the incident. When people’s protests surfaced, it issued an order for a magisterial inquiry.
However, in view of the widespread agitations, Union Home Minister P. Chidamabaram asked Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh to set up a judicial inquiry.
The government claims that the necessary order was not issued immediately because no sitting or retired high court judge was available to head the commission. However, the Apunba Lup, the apex body of the civil organisations in Manipur which has been spearheading the agitation, says there was no need to set up any more inquiry.
There were photographs showing the cold-blooded murder of the former militant by the commandos, it said. The government should punish them.
Apunba Lup demand
The Apunba Lup is also demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister, who is also in-charge of the Home Ministry, owning moral responsibility since he had misled the Assembly with a statement on the incident contending that it was a real encounter.
To curb the continuing agitations, an indefinite curfew had been clamped in Manipur. Several women and men were injured in police action during the agitations.
Jail term for couple
CHENNAI: A couple that used fake postal stamps was sentenced to undergo one year imprisonment by a special court here on Friday.
According to a press release, M.R. Vasagar and his wife V. Rajeswari, who were proprietors of a company, had sent letters to 100 customers by affixing counterfeit postal stamps on the covers.
The covers containing counterfeit postal stamps were not received by the addressees and returned.
Based on a tip-off, CBI officials raided the house of the couple and seized the covers containing the fake stamps.
A case was registered against them in 2003. R. Killivalavan, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Egmore, who heard the case convicted both the accused and sentenced them to one year imprisonment.
The judge also imposed a fine of Rs.5,000 each.
SEZ: court reserves orders
Mohamed Imranullah S.
|“Farmers will not stand to gain much by the acquisition”|
MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here on Friday reserved its verdict on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition challenging the State Government’s move to acquire 1,488.71 acres of land in Sivarakottai, Karisalkalanpatti and Swami Mallampatti villages in Tirumangalam taluk near here for establishing a Special Economic Zone.
Justices Chitra Venkataraman and M. Duraiswamy deferred pronouncement of the judgement without mentioning a date after hearing arguments advanced by Additional Advocate General (AAG) P. Wilson and petitioner’s counsel T. Lajapathi Roy. Madurai Mavatta Vivasayigal Nala Sangam, a registered society, had filed the PIL.
The petitioner’s counsel contended that the Government’s move to acquire the lands was against its own policy of not disturbing cultivable lands.
He claimed that a majority of the 4,542 people residing in these three villages were marginal farmers possessing three to five acres of land with an annual income of Rs.1 lakh each.
“Acquiring their lands would infringe their right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. On one hand, the Government is giving two acres of land free of cost to landless labourers and on the other it is acquiring cultivable lands. The Government’s policy cannot be against the Constitution.”
Alleging that the Government had not undertaken any study of farming techniques employed by farmers in these villages, he said: “Dry land farming is more profitable than wet land farming. The tur dal (pigeon pea) cultivated here was being sold for more than Rs.100 per kilogram in the open market.”
He also said: “In other States, there is an Environmental Audit which ascertains whether an industry to be set up on agricultural lands would be more profitable than the income generated through agriculture. Unfortunately, we do not have any environmental audit. Farmers in these three villages will not stand to gain much by the acquisition.”
On the other hand, the AAG said that large tracts of dry lands were available only in Tirumangalam taluk compared to six other taluks in the district. He said that the three villages in question did not have any source of water for agriculture but for depending on the rains. Only short term crops were cultivated in these places.
Denying petitioner’s contention that no proper study was conducted, the AAG said that the Secretary of the Industries Department visited the site along with the Collector and it was followed by deliberations at the highest level of the Government on acquiring these lands. A field study was also undertaken by the District Revenue Officer.
He said that the SEZ would be a boon to the Madurai region which remained backward in industrialisation, compared to cities such as Chennai and Coimbatore, and fraught with frequent communal clashes due to unemployment. He cited several Supreme Court decisions recognising the powers of the Government to acquire lands.
Accusing the petitioners of attempting to stall the multi-crore project for ulterior motives, he said that the petitioner society consisted of 94 social workers and none of them was an agriculturalist. “We know why this petition has been filed, who are behind it and what their intention is,” he said.
Replying to it, the petitioner’s counsel said there was no impediment on social workers residing in the villages to file a petition when even a post card could be treated as a PIL by the Court. “If this court wants, I can ask all the 5,000 villagers to file affidavits in support of the petitioner society,” he said.
Bench dismisses writ petition
|“No person or group can prevent a person from worshipping his/her deity”|
MADURAI: The Madras High Court has dismissed a writ petition filed before its Madurai Bench alleging that a group of people worshipping two deities at a temple in Jayamangalam of Theni district had excommunicated another group worshipping a third deity at the same temple.
Justice T. S. Sivagnanam said that the High Court could not issue directions to the District Collector and the Superintendent of Police to initiate action against the alleged perpetrators as the issue involved disputed questions of fact, which could be solved only by adducing evidence before a competent civil court.
However, the Judge observed: “No person or group of persons or anybody could prevent a person from worshipping his/her deity or practising or professing his/her religion. If such an event comes to the notice of the official respondents, they are bound to take action in accordance with law.”
According to petitioner V. Karuppiah, 80 families belonging to the same community were residing at Gandhi Nagar East Colony in Jayamangalam. These families were worshipping three different deities — Lord Madurai Veeran, Goddess Pattalamman and Lord Karuppasamy — in a temple in their village.
It was recently decided to conduct kumbabhishekam (consecration) of the temple by collecting donations known as ‘Thalaikattu Vari’ from the villagers. There was a dispute between the community members and around 25 families worshipping Lord Karuppasamy were prevented from entering the temple, the petitioner alleged.
On the other hand, Government Advocate D. Gandhiraj said that the police had received complaints and counter complaints from both groups.
The picture of Lord Karuppasamy had not been printed in receipts issued for collecting donations, he said and added that the dispute could not be adjudicated through a writ petition.
Agreeing with submissions made by the Government Advocate, the Judge said that the Constitutional right to practise a religion was subject to public order. “Therefore, whatever right which according to the petitioner relates to worshipping their God Karuppasamy cannot be infringed but such a right is subject to public order.”
High Court Bench refuses to hear Bar’s plea
|Nagercoil Bar Association told to withdraw boycott|
MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here on Friday refused to hear a writ petition filed by the Nagercoil Bar Association, seeking a CBI probe into the alleged scuffle between three lawyers and a few police personnel in the Thuckalay police station on August 1, unless the Bar withdrew the ongoing boycott of court proceedings.
A Division Bench, comprising Justice Chitra Venkataraman and Justice M. Duraiswamy, said that the Bar must realise its responsibilities.
“A private dispute between a few individuals cannot be converted into an issue of the institution,” Ms. Justice Venkataraman told counsel representing the Bar.
The Bench had initially imposed the condition of withdrawing boycott on Wednesday and adjourned the matter by two days for reporting compliance.
However, on Friday, counsel said that all other Bar Associations in Kanyakumari district, except the one in Nagercoil, had withdrawn the boycott. Expressing displeasure at the “hard stand” taken by the Nagercoil Bar, the senior judge said: “We reposed confidence in you and suggested to withdraw the boycott. If you betray that confidence, what kind of confidence will the clients repose in us? You cannot set terms to this institution.”
The judges felt that lawyers had to act responsibly and said that they were ready to have a dialogue with the Bar members in the open court.
“Ask the members to come here. We will interact with them, there is no problem,” they said and adjourned the matter to Monday for further hearing.
When counsel said that, in the meantime, the court might direct Special Government Pleader R. Janakiramulu to obtain instructions from police officers, the judge said: “No, we will not do that. He is nowhere in the picture. We will look into the case only if you withdraw the boycott.”
“Use RTI Act judiciously”
MADURAI: The Right to Information (RTI) Act, which had come as a boon to the common man, should be used judiciously to get the right information, said State Information Commissioner Sarada Nambi Arooran here on Friday.
Addressing a press conference, she said that petitions seeking information should be sent to those possessing it. Queries should not be vague or long-drawn if the right information was to be provided. There were also instances of petitions of frivolous nature. Dr. Sarada said that in the absence of total computerisation and networking of government departments it was not possible to provide information instantly.
Some of the queries made by the public related to the 19th century and it was difficult to get documents of a bygone era.
Many petitions were filed for the sake of asking queries, she said. In one instance, a petitioner had sought information about the functioning of a panchayat. The printing of such information would cost the panchayat Rs. 92, 000, which was beyond its means.
The public should realise that the objective of the RTI Act was to bring in transparency and accountability and eradicate corruption.
The State Information Commission had so far dealt with 8,000 petitions and issued show cause notices in 600 cases. About 50 officials had been fined for various anomalies, she said.
Awareness of RTI Act was spreading among the people now and recently there were petitions seeking information on admission of candidates in private colleges. There were allegations that the quota system was not followed and management quota was misused.
The most number of petitions were directed at the Revenue Department, followed by the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission, she said.
Court seeks report on minority college admission
HYDERABAD: A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Justice B. Prakasha Rao and Justice P. V. Sanjaya Kumar on Friday directed the observers appointed by the Admissions and Fee Regulatory Committee (AFRC) to submit their reports to the court about the transparency of admissions being undertaken by the Consortium of Minority Educational Institutions for MBA and MCA courses.
The reports are to be filed by September 7.
These orders were passed in a writ petition filed by Minorities Rights Protection Committee through its general secretary Fasiuddin.
The petitioner complained that the consortium and its constituent colleges had indulged in large-scale irregularities while making admission to MBA and MCA courses in 2008-2009 academic year and the AFRC had given a finding that there were irregularities.
The petitioner lamented that the meritorious minority students were cheated out of the selection process by these institutions. While the case was being heard the petitioner brought to the court’s notice the notification issued by the consortium and requested the court to stay the counselling to begin on Friday and end by September 2.
Additional Advocate-General Sudershan Reddy said the AFRC had appointed two professors each for the four centres where counselling was taking place, as observers. The counselling was on in Hyderabad, Kadapa, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada.
The Bench felt that the counselling need not be stayed and asked the observers to file the reports.
HC orders counselling for B. Arch at ANU
GUNTUR: The Andhra Pradesh High Court has director the Convener of Admissions to conduct counselling for interested students during the sliding process for getting admitted into B. Architecture Course in Acharya Nagarjuna University Architecture College being set up on the campus during current academic year.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University’s plea was rejected and admission allowed into the ANU B.Arch. College, the university officials said.
A team of Council of Architecture had given a Letter of Acceptance to start the university after satisfying themselves with the facilities here.
Meanwhile, the Department of Biotechnology Coordinator KRS Sambasiva Rao has got Rs.21 lakh from the Centre to carryout research on micro-organisms living in low temperature conditions, to improve the life of stocks kept in cold storages by producing micro-bioproducts.
The Executive Council of ANU will meet on the campus on Saturday at 4 p.m. to discuss several issues and ratify some of them.
Insurance for employees could be one of the topics to be discussed during the meeting.
An awareness camp would be organised for NSS Volunteers from the coastal regions of Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts on the campus from September 4 to 5 for Krishna district and September 7 and 8 for 30 Guntur district volunteers.
The programme to be conducted by Delhi based resourceperson N.D. Paul would organise the programme for Prakasam students at the AKVK Degree College in Ongole.
Meet on child rights
The Department of Lifelong Learning organised an awareness programme on Child Rights and Vice-Chancellor Y.R. Haragopal Reddy said that the children were the weakest in the society, hence special care had to be taken in protecting their rights related to education and health.
Child Rights activist Gude Prasad said that there were 54 laws available, but implementing was most important and children should be seen as today’s citizens – not tomorrow’s. Department head Shyama Trimurthy was present .
SPMVV law admissions
TIRUPATI: Sri Padmavathi Women’s University (SPMVV) has announced on Friday that a few seats in three-year LLB and LLM courses are still available and women candidates qualified in LAWCET-2009 may attend for walk-in counselling on Monday, August 31, at 11 am with relevant certificates. –Staff Reporter
Advocate-General asked to appear before JMFC
It is in connection with the defamation case filed by
PANAJI: The Bombay High Court at Goa on Friday allowed a Criminal Writ Petition filed by activist lawyer Aires Rodrigues against Goa Advocate-General Subodh Kantak.
Pronouncing the judgment, Justice N.A. Britto quashed and set aside the orders of the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Edgar Fernandes who had not allowed Mr. Rodrigues to ask the Advocate-General questions on his character and competence in an defamation case. Mr. Britto on Friday directed the Advocate-General to appear before the JMFC on September 18 for further cross examination in the defamation case filed by him against Mr. Rodrigues.
Mr. Britto subsequently turned down the request of the Advocate-General’s lawyer that the judgment be stayed by four weeks to allow the Advocate-General to move the Supreme Court.
Mr. Rodrigues had, in his petition before the High Court, challenged the order of Panaji JMFC who directed him not to ask Mr. Kantak questions on his competency, general character and reputation in the defamation case filed by the Advocate-General.
After Mr. Rodrigues took up the issue of alleged exorbitant fees being paid to the Advocate-General of Goa by the State Government, Mr. Kantak initiated defamation proceedings against Mr. Rodrigues before the JMFC and has also sought Rs. 15 crore by way of compensation.
15 criminal cases filed against police officials
Karwar: As many as 15 criminal cases were filed by women against police officials in the Chittakula Police Station in Karwar on Thursday in connection with the alleged atrocities during the Hanakon riots and thereafter. With this, the police are facing 16 criminal cases as Ganapati Tikkam, BJP Fishermen Morcha president, has also filed a complaint against four police officials for allegedly torturing him in police custody after the Hanakon violence. The officers who were named in the first information reports (FIR) are Babu Kolekar, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Karwar, Anthony John, Circle Inspector of Police, Karwar, Bhaskar Rai, Circle Inspector of Police, Ankola, and Manjunath Gowda, Sub-Inspector of Police, District Crime Bureau, Karwar, Somegowda, Sub-Inspector of Police, Kadra Police Station, Karwar, Channesh, Sub-Inspector of Police, Karwar Rural, Raghavendra, Sub-Inspector of Police, Karwar Town Police Station, John D’Souza, Sub-Inspector of Police, Chittakula Police Station, Karwar, Chandrakala Hosamani, Sub-Inspector of Police, Karwar Town Police Station, and Satish and Seetaram, probationary Sub-Inspectors of Police.
Child labour case riddled with contradictions
|CWC charges the employer with trying to scuttle the case|
Ayesha had been left in Abdul Salam’s house for safekeeping, says her mother
Hospital authorities have been told to inform CWC before discharging the girl
MANGALORE: The case of Ayesha, a minor girl who sustained grievous injuries while trying to escape from the house of her employer on Wednesday night, has turned into a confusing one.
The traumatised girl has changed her statements, while a woman, claiming to be her mother, has said that Ayesha was not employed as a domestic help, and the police had not yet registered a First Information Report (FIR).
Meanwhile, apprehending that the entire confusion was being created by the alleged employer of Ayesha, a wealthy businessman, the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) has written to the District Judicial Magistrate to intervene in the matter. “This is an apparent attempt by the employer at scuttling the case,” said Geo D’Silva, member of the CWC.
In the presence of the media, the girl had told the police on Thursday that she had been locked in the house by her employer Abdul Salam and she had fallen off the balcony of his apartment while trying to escape from the house. She gave the same statement to Mr. D’Silva. But, she changed her statement a little while later and told the police that she had fallen off the balcony after a bout of dizziness.
Mr. D’Silva, however, said that the girl’s statement to him was as good as a First Information Report. He pointed out that the CWC was a judicial body and had taken a suo-motu action in this case.
Although Mr. Salam had gone on the record to say that he had employed the girl in his house and did not know it was a “major offence to hire a child”, a woman, claiming to be the mother of the girl, told the Labour Department officials that she had left Ayesha with Mr. Salam’s family for safekeeping and not as “a domestic help”.
While Abdul Salam told the media that he had got the child to work for him through a labour agent and did not know who Ayesha’s parents were, the girl’s mother told labour officials that she had worked for Mr. Salam for three years, when he lived in Kasargod, Kerala.
Proper FIR key to justice
Registration of a First Information Report is the first logical and tangible step that kicks off police investigations in the event of a complaint of cognisable offence. That it provides basic inputs on which a case is built up is an irrefutable fact and hence any slackness or mistake on the part of the police while recording an FIR can lead to subversion of the justice delivery system.
An FIR is considered of vital importance as the success of subsequent investigations depends entirely on how carefully and truthfully it has been recorded by the police.
Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in its sub-section (1) reads that “Every information relating to the commission of a cognisable offence, if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction, and be read over to the informant; and every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid, shall be signed by the person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be entered in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf.”
As per its sub-section (2), a copy of the information as recorded under sub-section (1) shall be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant.
Sub-section (3) states that in case of refusal by the officer in charge of a police station the aggrieved person can approach the Superintendent of Police with the complaint and if satisfied that a cognisable offence has been committed, the officer can either investigate the case himself or depute any subordinate police officer for the same.
An FIR contains information about the date and time of its registration, commission of offence, names of the accused persons if known, sequence of events and circumstances surrounding the offence besides the particulars of the complainant.
Keeping the importance of an FIR in view, any bona fide person lodges a complaint with the police presuming that its registration would entail start of the investigation. Such a complainant, if heard patiently, can provide minute details of the offence that may help the police investigate the case successfully. A minor tampering with the language of an FIR and omission and commission can change the outcome immensely.
This underlines the very significance of free and fair registration of FIRs.
In this light, several measures have been announced by the Delhi police from time to time, but complaints about late and even non-registration of cases keep coming in. In fact, this issue was raised yet again at the fortnightly press conference of Delhi Police Commissioner Y. S. Dadwal this past week.
Non-registration of FIRs as a means for showing a statistical decline in the crime graph is an age-old modus operandi, and it is an open secret.
Though senior police officers have been issuing directions to correct the course, it will take some time to change the mind-sets down the hierarchy, only if they are not expected to work merely for statistics. Decisions should rather be guided by the ground situation and public perception.
At the same time, any increase in the crime graph due to free and fair registration of cases should not be interpreted in a manner that triggers panic in the public mind.
Devesh K. Pandey
New Bench to hear Sister Abhaya case
|Plea against granting bail to accused|
New Delhi: A new Bench of the Supreme Court will hear the appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging the order granting bail to the three accused in the Sister Abhaya death case.
The CBI has filed special leave petitions, one relating to the Kerala High Court order dated January 1, 2009 granting bail containing adverse remarks against the CBI, the Forensic Science Laboratory and the witnesses and the erroneous conclusions; and the other relating to the order transferring the inquiry from the CBI Delhi unit to the Kerala unit.
On Friday even as a Bench of Justice D.K. Jain and Justice H.L. Dattu was hearing submissions from the CBI counsel on the scope of the petitions saying that one appeal on transfer had really become infructuous following implementation of the directives, Justice Dattu pointed out that he had passed certain orders relating to the case and wanted to know whether the CBI would have any objection in his hearing the matter.
Though CBI counsel said the same Bench could hear the matter, Justice Dattu recused himself from the case and the Bench asked the matter to be placed before Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan for posting it before another Bench in which Justice Dattu was not a member.
ATS seeks LeT man’s custody
Mateen Hafeez, TNN 29 August 2009, 03:23am IST
MUMBAI: The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) team that questioned arrested Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Aslam Kashmiri in New Delhi will submit a production warrant in New Delhi court seeking his custody for thorough questioning.
The team that questioned Kashmiri for two days in New Delhi has confirmed his role in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case. “Our team has gone to New Delhi along with a warrant which will be submitted there to claim Kashmiri’s custody,” said a senior ATS official.
Al-Badr: CBI status clarified
TNN 29 August 2009, 03:57am IST
NEW DELHI: In what comes as a blow for the special cell of Delhi Police, Delhi High Court on Friday asked a trial court to treat CBI as the investigating agency in a case involving two men who were arrested by the special cell as Al-Badr terrorists.
Asking the trial court to consider the closure report of the CBI giving a clean chit to the two men, Justice M C Garg directed the additional sessions judge to proceed further in the matter after hearing the parties on the basis of the closure report filed by the CBI. “Once the investigation was transferred by this court to CBI and on the basis of investigation it filed a closure report, then it is that report only which will have to be taken into consideration by the ASJ to proceed further,” Justice Garg said. The high court, however, dismissed the plea of the petitioners Morif Qamar and Irshad Ali, who have been lodged in Tihar Jail for the past three years to discharge them.
The HC’s order may pose serious trouble for some officials of the special cell as the agency’s closure report had also sought action against them for allegedly fabricating evidence against the two men. The HC’s order came after the two accused moved against the trial court’s order which rejected the CBI closure report and ordered a trial. Challenging the trial court’s order, M Sufian Siddiqui, counsel for the petitioner, contended that the special cell had no locus standi in the case. He also said that once the case was transferred to the CBI, it was the agency which could prosecute.
In February, additional sessions judge S K Gautam had rejected the closure report on the grounds that the facts given by CBI, special cell and the counsel of the accused were “mixed” and only a fair trial could clear the haze. The court had then ordered for arguments on charge.
It was this stand of the trial court in which it gave equal credence to the report filed by the special cell that the HC, while remanding the case back to the ASJ, asked him not to be “influenced” by the special cell’s report. Stating that ASJ’s extensive reliance on the special cell’s report while deciding on the matter was “not correct”, Justice Garg said, “He (ASJ) may pass appropriate order uninfluenced by what this court has stated while disposing of this case. The only rider would be that while passing that order, the ASJ would not be influenced by the report of the special cell in this matter.”
State set to amend Societies Act
TNN 29 August 2009, 03:47am IST
HYDERABAD: In a controversial move, the state government on Friday introduced a bill to amend the AP Societies Registration Act 2001 on Friday. While the government said that the act was being amended to prevent mismanagement or improper governance of societies and associations registered under the act and to control the administration as an interim measure, the opposition parties strongly opposed it on the grounds that the move was against the constitution and that the assembly does not have powers to amend it.
Introducing the AP societies registration (amendment) act 2009, endowments minister G Venkat Reddy said that several cases of misappropriation of funds and mismanagement of societies had come to the notice of the government and since the existing act does not contain any provision empowering the registrar to supersede the governing body of the societies, the amendment had become necessary.
The newly-amended act will help the state to take over associations like the Andhra Cricket Association which is embroiled in a controversy after its secretary Chamundeswarnath has been alleged to be involved in misappropriation of funds in the purchase of furniture, the minister said. Strongly opposing the amendment, TDLP Deputy Leader P Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that it is a breach of fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution. “The TDP government had also tried to amend the act during its regime, but when legal experts said it was against the letter and spirit of the Constitution, it was sent to a select committee and on its advice, withdrawn,” he said.
Other opposition parties — PRP, TRS, MIM, CPI, BJP and CPM also demanded that the bill be withdrawn, but the government brushed aside the objections and introduced it. The opposition parties are now gearing up to oppose the bill both within and outside the assembly.
Court orders action against khadi official for causing a loss of Rs 39L
TNN 29 August 2009, 04:20am IST
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption to take appropriate action against a Khadi and Village Industries Board (KVIB) official who had caused wrongful loss to the tune of Rs 39 lakh to the Board.
The first bench comprising the chief justice HL Gokhale and justice D Murugesan passed the order on a writ petition filed by G Sivan, who wanted action under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act against one Joshua Chellappa, a Khadi supervisor.
According to the petitioner, when Joshua Chellappa was working as manager in the Ambattur Footwear Unit, the state government sanctioned Rs 50 lakh under the Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar Welfare Board.
The Khadi Board had used the entire amount for a processing machinery at the instance of Joshua Chellappa. It was purchased at a cost of Rs 39 lakh in February 1995, but the machine could not be put to any use. The Central Leather Research Institution (CLRI) had filed a report in September 1995, stating that it was no capable of producing a single shoe.
Joshua Chellappa had caused a loss of another Rs 4 lakh, when the Tiruchi BHEL had returned an entire footwear consignment in 1997. Alleging that several more complaints are pending against him, the petitioner wanted the court to direct the DVAC to initiate criminal proceedings against the Khadi official.
Acquitted by court, but caught between cops, jail officials
TNN 29 August 2009, 05:27am IST
AHMEDABAD: It was disagreement between city police officials and jail authorities that kept three parole jumpers on tenterhooks till Friday morning.
The brothers, who were accused in a murder case in 1998 in Amraiwadi, were later released when the officials got to know that they were acquitted by Gujarat High Court two years ago.
According to Zone I police officials, they were working on a list provided to them by prison authorities about the parole jumpers who have been evading arrest for last 10 years. At that time, the striking force of deputy commissioner of police, Zone I, got to know the whereabouts of two brothers who were accused in a murder case at Sola in a rented premises.
“We then raided a house in Rabarivaas where the brothers, Prakash, Babu and Santram Rabari were living for quite some time. They were brought to Navrangpura and were questioned about their past activities. After that, the jail officials were informed of the entire business,” said a member of striking force who participated in the operation. During their questioning, the officials got to know that the brothers jumped parole on various instances between 2003 and 2007.
Then came the disappointment. “We had taken troubles to check on the list that clearly stated that Babu and Santram were wanted in the case. We could also nab Prakash who told us that he had also jumped parole. However, his name did not figure on the list. When we enquired with the jail authorities about the entire business, they checked their records and informed us that the case has been closed by the judiciary and the trio was acquitted in the case,” said Brijesh Kumar Jha, deputy commissioner of police, Zone I.
Police officials added that when they asked jail officials to take custody of the accused since they had jumped parole, they refused. They argued that now it did not come under their purview. “We had to let the brothers go. How can we hold them in our custody? They have no cases pertaining to our jurisdiction,” said the official. When prison officials were contacted, they stated that the case was closed once the court acquitted the brothers.
Fresh FIR against builders of Leelakunj apartments
TNN 28 August 2009, 11:00pm IST
ALLAHABAD: Even after the demolition of Leelakunj apartments following an order of Allahabad high court, controversies pertaining to the role of the builder continue to crop up with a fresh FIR being lodged with the Colonelganj police against Vijay Ojha and Sharad Ojha as well as the then manager of Bank of Maharashtra.
It is worth mentioning that the Leelakunj apartments comes under Baba Sahkari Awas Samiti. Vijay Ojha and Sharad Ojha are presidents of Baba Sahkari Awas Samiti and Sharad Sahkari Awas Samiti respectively.
The FIR has been lodged by Anand Kumar Pandey, occupant of flat no S-303 in Leelakunj apartment under Sections 419/420/467/468/471 and 504 of IPC. Pandey in his FIR has alleged that the Ojha brothers connived with the then manager of Bank of Maharashtra and fraudulently transferred Rs four lakh into the account of Sharad Sahkari Awas Samiti. The cheque of Rs four lakh had actually been drawn in favour of Baba Sahkari Awas Samiti.
In the FIR, Pandey an advocate has maintained that he started practising in Allahabad high court in the year 2000. As he urgently required a decent accommodation, he approached the samiti owners for a flat which was finalised according to the terms and conditions put forth by the builder.
Consequently, two cheques amounting to Rs four lakhs (cheque no 122838) and Rs two lakhs (cheque no 122839) were given to the owners in addition to the amount in cash. After the apartments were demolished upon the orders of the high court and a writ petition filed in the court, Pandey approached the bank for his statement of accounts.
At this juncture Pandey claimed that he was shocked to learn that the amount of Rs four lakh had been fraudulently transferred from the account of Baba Sahkari Samiti to the president of Sharad Sahkari Samiti whose president was Sharad Ojha. The bank did not even intimate Pandey about the transfer from one account to the other. “How can the bank possibly transfer the cheque into the account of an entity in whose favour the cheque has not been drawn at the first place,” questions Pandey in the FIR.
Pandey claims that the transfer was done so that in event of court orders for returning money of flat owners, owners of Baba sahkari samiti had limited liability and would be held accountable for Rs two lakh only instead of the total of Rs six lakhs.
Sub-inspector Ashok Kumar Nigam of Colonelganj police station has been made the investigating officer in the case. Owners of the twin sahkari samitis were not available for comments.
Court frames charges in watchman murder case
TNN 29 August 2009, 02:09am IST
CHANDIGARH: The court of additional district and sessions judge, Raj Rahul Garg, framed murder charges against Sukhvinder Singh and Karnail Singh for allegedly killing Gum Bahadur in March 2009.
A watchman at Leisure Valley, Bahadur was found brutally murdered on March 16, but the case was cracked and accused, Karnail, was nabbed on April 11. The court framed charges under sections 302 (murder), 397 (robbery or dacoity with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt) and 460 (house trespass where death is caused) of Indian Penal Code.
According to prosecution, Karnail, a Kapurthala resident, who facing a financial crunch thought of borrowing some from Bahadur. He along with Sukhvinder went to the watchman?s room in Sector 10, where they slit his throat and robbed cash and electronic gadgets from his room.
“It was Bahadur’s cell phone that helped cops nab the accused as Karnail started using it, and police tracked him to Derabassi,”said a court source. An FIR was then registered in Sector 3 police station and nearly four months later the court framed charges against the duo on Friday and fixed the date of hearing for prosecution evidence.
Transparent govt can make RTI Act redundant
TNN 29 August 2009, 06:31am IST
DHARWAD: Karnataka Right to Information Commission commissioner Tippeswamy said there is a need to train the officials of various government departments about the provisions of Right to Information Act-2005 in general and section 4(1)b of the Act in particular.
He was speaking after inaugurating a workshop on `RTI Act-2005 Section 4(1)b’ jointly organized by the Commission and Administrative Training Institute (Mysore) for the officials of rural development and panchayat raj (RDPR) department officials at Alur Venkatrao Bhavan here on Friday.
He said RTI Act is a strong tool for the people to know what is happening around them and the government agencies are duty-bound to part with the information subject to certain conditions.
“The purpose of the legislation will not be served if the people who have information do not understand the nuances of the Act and their role in dispensing information,” he added.
Tippeswamy observed that little has been done in the past four years to enlighten the officials and people about the provisions of RTI Act and such workshops would help smooth transfer of information from the government agencies to the people who are the ultimate beneficiaries of government schemes and projects.
Presiding over the function, Dharwad DC Darpan Jain said it is pertinent that all the decisions of the government should be justifiable and transparent.
He highlighted the need to put all government proceedings in public domain so that there would be no need to apply for information. “Using modern technology, it is easy to put all the proceedings of the government in public domain,” he said, adding the government is compelled to pass a legislation to ensure right to information which is already there in the Constitution. “It is a shame on us that the government had to pass a legislation to ensure transparency in administration. It should have been a natural process. We are not rulers, we are civil servants and we should act as facilitators,” he said.
Chief executive officers of zilla panchayats, taluk panchayats and gram panchayats and other officials of RDPR department from across the state participated in the workshop. C Ashok, professor D Y Kulkarni and Prasad deliberated on various aspects of the RTI Act and its sections during the interaction that followed.
Assistant commissioner Mahantesh Bilgi, ZP deputy secretary Nayak and additional DC Ashok Mallapur spoke.
Shilpa Shetty’s father gets his passport back
PTI 29 August 2009, 05:42pm IST
SURAT: A local court on Saturday ordered to hand over passport to Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty’s father Surender Shetty, an accused in a 2003 extortion case, for four months.
Shetty has appealed court to release his passport, which is in court’s custody, as he needed to travel abroad for his daughter’s marriage and for some business trips.
Sessions judge V R Vyas ordered to hand over passport to Shetty on a personal bond of Rs 2.5 lakh and asked him to submit it back to the court on January 1, 2010.
A Surat based businessman, Shivnarayan Agarwal had filed a case of extortion against Shetty and his wife Sunanda after he allegedly received threats from underworld don Fazl-Ur-Rehman and his aides asking him to pay the money he owed to Shilpa of an advertisement contract.
MNS moves SC for `rail engine’ common symbol ahead of assembly polls
TNN 29 August 2009, 12:46am IST
NEW DELHI: Ahead of the assembly polls, Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Friday moved the Supreme Court for allotment of a common symbol — rail engine — to all its candidates.
The move was spurred by the success of MNS in garnering an impressive number of votes during the Lok Sabha elections and the party leaders feel that the prospects would only brighten with a common election symbol.
MNS’s counsel senior advocate U U Lalit wanted an urgent hearing on the petition, but a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan posted it for hearing on September 11.
When Lalit expressed the apprehension that the election schedule may be announced anytime now, the Bench permitted MNS in such an eventuality to renew its request for an hearing earlier than September 11. The elections to the state assembly are due before November 3.
The Election Commission had refused to allot a common symbol to MNS.
As per the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 2005, a permanent symbol is allotted to a recognized party in the state. For this purpose, the party should have won 6% of the vote share in the previous election besides returning at least two candidates to the assembly and one candidate to the Lok Sabha. Since MNS had failed to meet the criteria, the Commission had rejected its request for an exclusive symbol.
Shylendra has good chance to come to SC and become CJI: Balakrishnan
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN 29 August 2009, 12:13am IST
NEW DELHI: Justice D V Shylendra Kumar, who with a full-page newspaper article turned the public debate in favour of judges making their assets public, has a good chance of getting elevated to the Supreme Court and even head the judiciary, said Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan on Friday.
Justice Balakrishnan whose immediate reaction to the signed newspaper article of the Karnataka High Court judge was that it was a “publicity stunt” and that those among the judges who wanted to make public their wealth faced no institutional deterrence, is more at peace now.
With the Full Court meeting of SC on Wednesday passing a resolution to put judges assests and liabilities on the official website of the apex court, the CJI seems to be in a relaxed frame of mind now that the contentious issue is out of the way.
Asked whether Justice Kumar had a chance to be elevated to the SC after his article, Justice Balakrishnan in an exclusive interview to TOI said: “He is young and has a good chance to make it to the Supreme Court on the basis of merit once he attains the required seniority.”
“Why alone an elevation to the Supreme Court, he has a good chance of becoming the CJI,” said the Chief Justice.
Justice Balakrishnan later met the press and said that the decision to post the wealth sheet of the Supreme Court judges on the apex court website would take some time as the judges wanted to revise their earlier declarations and be accurate in the information about their assets and investments. The entire process of posting the assets and investments on the website could take a month or so, he added.
Asked what made the judges shed the fear of harassment at the hands of unscrupulous litigants over the details of the assets which was holding them back from making it public, the CJI quickly shot back: “Who says we have shed that fear? We will wait and see the reaction of the public.”
To a question whether any action would be taken against a judge who refuses to declare his assets, he said it was not necessary since every judge of the SC has scrupulously followed the 1997 Resolution warranting declaration of assets and investments by the judge, his/her spouse and dependents.
Would the High Courts follow suit? He said on the administrative side, the HCs were independent units and the apex court had no control over them, so it was for them to decide whether to follow suit or not. “Even the 1997 Resolution had not yet been adopted by some of the HCs,” he added.
Reminded that the Supreme Court had challenged a Central Information Commission (CIC) decision on declaration of assets, the CJI clarified that it was a response to the sweeping assumption of the CIC that all the information available with the CJI was within the domain of the RTI Act and hence should be passed on to the Registrar of the court for meeting queries from public.
“There are voluminous sensitive information with me regarding correspondence with the President, Prime Minister and the Chief Justices of the HCs. How can this information be given to public? Tomorrow someone would ask for draft judgments that the judges circulate among themselves,” he said.
SC directs CBI to trace NRI mother and son
PTI 29 August 2009, 06:04pm IST
NEW DELHI: With the police in three states clueless for the past two years about the whereabouts of an NRI woman who fled with her minor son from the US to India, the Supreme Court has directed CBI to investigate the matter and submit a report.
The apex court said CBI officials should be given all powers to trace the child Aditya Chandran and, if necessary, issue a non-bailable warrant against the mother Vijayashree Voora who is said to be mentally unstable and was divorced from her husband V Ravichandran.
“It is almost two years since the notice was issued by this Court but the child could not be produced. Respondent no 6 (mother) is said to be mentally unstable and running around with the child from one state to another.
“In the peculiar and extraordinary circumstances such as the present one, we are of the view that Central Bureau of Investigation may be assigned the task of tracing minor Adithya Chandran and ensure his production before this Court, a bench of Justices Tarun Chatterjee and R M Lodha observed in a judgement.
The apex court passed the directions on a petition by the NRI father Ravichandran as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh admitted that despite their best efforts they could not trace the mother and the child for the past two years.